Think about the small-town environment your grandparents probably enjoyed when they were growing up: The local butcher knew what type of meat to start cutting up as soon as they walked through the door; the mail carrier knew their family; and the barbershop was the place to hear the latest news around town.
Those same small-town attributes are beginning to resurface in a completely new way. They are showing up digitally in “social media.” The Internet is beginning to hit its stride and is completely rewriting the rules of customer engagement that we have become so accustomed to over the last 100 years. Using social media, there is now a way to make those small-town values scalable. The opportunity to connect globally and engage vast amounts of people in a personal way is available. It is now our responsibility as PGA Professionals to take advantage of these tools and really grow your business.
Twitter, by far, is the best tool to start using today to create these connections. If you don’t have a Twitter account, get one – it’s free. If you have an account and don’t use it, start; you will be thankful you did. Forget whatever negative things you have heard about Twitter, because it is the real deal for a modern business.
That’s because Twitter is all about building relationships. It’s about networking. It’s about sharing with the world what you know. It’s about building and solidifying a relationship with clients the “old fashioned” way – by actually talking to them and sharing your experiences on a personal and emotional level.
Where to begin? We suggest Googling “Best Twitter Practices” and some great articles will surface about the best ways to start using the service. We wanted to highlight what some of the more active Twitter users we know among PGA Professionals are doing and share a bit of their stories.
Let’s start with Mike Fay, the PGA head professional at Boyne Mountain’s Monument Course in Boyne Falls, Mich. Fay uses his Twitter account to stay connected to his students throughout the winter months, and also runs a weekly Twitter “show” called “Ask the Pro” every Sunday at 9 p.m. During the show, Fay uses Twitter to answer questions that have been posted by amateur golfers from all over the world.
“When I created ‘Ask the Pro,’ I answered all the questions. When there started to be more questions then I could answer myself, I called upon some of the great teachers, players and promoters of the game who use Twitter,” says Fay (@mikefaygolf). “It’s really the only place to have personal contact with all these gifted people. The show’s popularity has spread, and now I have well more than 1,000 followers involved in the show’s success.”
Through his Twitter show, Fay has connected with PGA Professionals all over the country who he has never even met. The likes of Brandel Chamblee, Sir Nick Faldo and Charlie Rymer have even gotten involved with answering questions. Where else can Fay’s students get their swing questions answered by Sir Nick Faldo? Imagine the impression that leaves on his students!
Kevin Hamluk is another PGA Professional who understands the power of Twitter. As the PGA director of instruction at South Riding (Va.) Golf Club, Hamluk answers questions from golfers across the country through his Twitter account.
“The more you interact with others the better,” says Hamluk (@HamlukPGA). “For me, the more that my Twitter followers or others can see that I am a ‘normal’ person the better, and I can also show that I am a PGA Professional with a love for golf. If I answer someone’s question from across the country or around the corner, it shows I care, I am paying attention, and I have some thoughts on whatever is being talked about. That leads more people to follow me, ask more questions and eventually take lessons with me – and that puts money in my pocket in the end.”
Building relationships, connecting like minded individuals, creating a community: These are the small-town values our grandparents enjoyed, and the benefits of using Twitter in today’s world.
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